June 18, 2020

Matt & Allie | Marriott Ranch, Virginia Engagement Photographer

I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains of Colorado or Virginia, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

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Matt & Allie | Marriott Ranch, Virginia Engagement Photographer

I had been looking forward to meeting Matt and Allie for MONTHS after briefly getting to know them over the phone. 🙂 At the time, they were anticipating for their August wedding at Stone Tower Winery, and could hardly wait to tie the knot! After all, they had been waiting for a DECADE to get to this point. Even though the pandemic put a little pause on their plans, they navigated around it with everything working out effortlessly! Now everything is falling into place — Even their engagement session at Marriott Ranch in Virginia!

Matt, Allie, Murph (their adorable pup!), and I got together at Marriott Ranch in Virginia to photograph their engagement portraits. And gosh… I didn’t want our time to come to an end! It was so great hanging out in person and really get to know them before their special day next year. <3 Our time together did NOT disappoint! They came prepared to have fun and enjoy the process together! Even Matt spoke up and said he had fun! 🙂 SCORE! Haha! I honestly think that Murphy had just as much fun and loved his close up. Haha! He was definitely working it! I hope you all enjoy these photos as much as I do! <3

Matt & Allie | Marriott Ranch, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Matt & Allie’s Love Story


From Allie’s Perspective

The summer before my senior year in high school, I applied for a job at an Italian Ice shop in my neighborhood. I remember working at the register during one of my first shifts when this handsome young man with wind-swept hair walked through the door. I greeted him thinking he was a customer, but he crossed behind the counter and introduced himself as Matt. He didn’t say too much when we first met, so I just thought he was shy — which couldn’t be further from the truth! I tried so hard to make conversation, which turned out to be awkward small talk about mixing the Italian Ice. I thought I blew it! Matt had to think I was this dorky chatterbox, but I guess he thought my small talk was cute?

As we worked more shifts together, conversation became effortless. I was so excited to work shifts with Matt. We shared so many Chinese dinners during late work hours, often speeding through store closings to spend time together after work. Before we knew it, we grew a true friendship. We did everything together the summer before I left for college, only seeing how strong we cared for each other just as the summer neared its end. It wasn’t until my first week at JMU that Matt and I began dating — of course, once we were in different cities!

We battled distance for the first seven years of our relationship, including college years and my clinical fellowship. As difficult as it was, the distance allowed us to grow individually during such important and impressionable years. Our love remained strong, and our patience was finally rewarded when we both moved to Pittsburgh together!


From Matt’s Perspective

For a long time, I thought I knew exactly how I was going to propose. Way back in 2011, I was driving back to Radford from JMU after visiting Allie one weekend. I happened to look up and see a hot air balloon in the sky. That was the moment I knew how I was eventually going to propose. Fast forward 8 years later, I was walking out of the jewelry store, ring in hand, ready to research where I could find a hot air balloon. A week or two went by, and I hadn’t made a final decision yet. I had a very long drive home from work and decided it’s been long enough. I couldn’t wait anymore!

When I got home, I hid the ring under our sink in the kitchen. I thought the kitchen had much better lighting then the living room, and I wanted to make sure she saw the ring at its absolute best.

The moment finally came where I was going to do it. Allie was on the couch watching TV. All I needed to do was get her into the kitchen. Sounds easy, right? Well after about 20 minutes of attempts, she finally made her way into the kitchen. When she walked in, I got down on one knee, pulled the ring out of my hiding spot, and asked her to marry me, to which she said, “Are you joking?!” I don’t think she thought I was being serious until I put the ring on her finger. Fortunately for me, she said yes!

Thank you, Matt and Allie, for having hearts of gold! I’m so grateful to be your photographer and to have had this opportunity to photograph your engagement portraits. <3 What a BLAST! I cannot WAIT for your wedding day next year!!! CONGRATS on your much-anticipated engagement!!!!

VENUE: Marriott Ranch | DRESS: VICI


Stephanie Messick Photography, LLC is a Virginia + Florida Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer. Learn more HERE or contact her HERE!



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